Parrent Smith Investigations
is a full service investigative agency. Our cases involve a variety of different
industries and types of investigations. Below are a sampling of case studies
that describe the results we have accomplished for our clients. The cases
on the links below present some of the diverse areas and situations in which
we have provided assistance to clients. If a case study reminds you of a problem
or legal action you are working on, please call us. If you don't see a case
like the one you are involved in, however, that doesn't mean we haven't handled
similar cases. We'd love to hear about your unique case.
General Litigation Cases:
- ASSET SEARCHES
Summary: Our client, an insurance company, had secured a judgment for more than $500,000 against a cagey real estate developer who had multiple corporations and LLCs behind which he hid himself and his assets. Our investigation lasted several months because every time we located his new business and banking information, he would transfer all of the property and monies to a new entity. We eventually got ahead of his game by carefully reviewing his trash (which he placed at the curb) every Wednesday night. In spite of the hot pursuit by the insurance company, this con man forgot about using a shredder for his most important documents. We were able to coordinate the service of a writ of execution on his accounts at a brand new bank the very day that he opened them.
Summary: Our firm was hired by
attorneys of the Casmalia Steering Committee representing the one of the
many Potentially Responsible Parties in a lawsuit in which the Environmental
Protection Agency was seeking cleanup settlements from the former owners
of a hazardous waste site. One of the owners was asserting he was broke,
but we were able to find assets he had not disclosed and prove that he had
more than adequate resources to pay his share of the cleanup. This is an
example of the kind of work our firm can provide litigators seeking to identify
undisclosed or hidden assets of a party involved in a lawsuit. The
- CRIMINAL DEFENSE
Summary: Our client was involved in a two-car accident in which the other driver died. The CHP officer's report, which was very detailed with measurements, diagrams and photographs, and was 19 pages long, concluded that our client was at fault and recommended that she be prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter. Our investigation proved our client innocent.The full story...
- Summary: In this case in San Jose, CA, the District Attorney planned to charge our client with two counts of first-degree murder. After a verbal altercation with two Samoan men, our client shot and killed them both with a high-powered rifle. Our investigation helped the defense attorney make a reasonable argument for two second-degree murder charges rather than first degree. He was successful and the client pled guilty to those charges.The full story...
- Summary:A young man was accused of stealing electronic chips worth $50,000 from his employer, a firm in Santa Clara, CA. Based on the police investigation, the DA was ready to charge this employee with Grand Theft. Fortunately for him, the owner of the firm retained us to do a thorough investigation of the theft. We discovered the real thief, another employee, and the young man was not prosecuted.The full story...
Summary: In this case, our firm
discovered that the plaintiff in a sexual harassment action not only was
a prostitute, but also had been an actress in at least one porno film. This
information helped the defense reach a quick and mutually acceptable settlement
with the plaintiff, whose attorney had referred to her as a "China Doll".
This case is a colorful example of how employment cases can often be resolved
prior to litigation, once the facts are uncovered. The
/ WIRE FRAUD
Summary: We handled the investigation
and partial recovery of a $7 million dollar fraud perpetrated on an insurance
company. We were able to provide information and evidence that led to the
arrest of the person behind the scam and recover $3 million so far - the
case is ongoing. It is an example of ways we can help attorneys with insurance,
commercial and other business clients, as well as those involved in special
investigations of a criminal nature. The
- PERSONAL INJURY
Summary: In a personal injury case, our firm
located and conducted an interview with a key witness of an accident. The way the interview was conducted made all the difference in helping our client obtain a favorable verdict.The full story...
- Summary: In a personal injury case, our firm
helped our plaintiff client recover damages from a negligent apartment complex after she had been raped, beaten and left for dead. We used an "investigative blitzreig" to find the information needed to help her obtain a favorable settlement.The full story...
Summary: A company that manufactured
emergency cell phones suspected that they might not get the contract they
were bidding on in a Southern California County because of a close friendship
between one of the county supervisors and the owner of a competitive company.
Our firm discovered that the competitive company had asked employees to
make donations to that county supervisor's campaign and then had reimbursed
those donations. This information was turned over to the attorneys for the
company, and the company subsequently won the $20 million dollar contract.
This case is an example of how good investigators can help business clients,
as well as how we can offer support in sensitive political situations. The
Summary: Investigative agencies
are not only valuable once litigation begins but can also be very helpful
in determining whether or not to go forward with an action, as the following
example shows. Our clients were two law firms representing a women's rights
organization and several individual plaintiffs who were considering a sex
discrimination suit against a well-known organization. We were able to find
a great deal of evidence regarding the organization and its relationship
to the county in which it was located. The attorneys, however, ultimately
decided they did not have strong enough ground on which to go forward with
the lawsuit. The
- SKIP TRACING / FINDING A SON
Summary:We were contacted by a mother whose adult son had not been in contact with his parents for some time. Despite the fact that he was currently living "off the grid", we were able to locate him through diligent field work and the family was reunited.
The son had been depressed because he lost a job and embarrased to contact home.
INVESTIGATIONS/ FINDING A SEX-ABUSE VICTIM
client asked us to locate a former victim of child sexual abuse 12 years
after the crime took place to determine what happened. The perpetrator was
publicly claiming his innocence on a website. Although we did not have her
name, after several attempts, we located the victim and interviewed her
and her parents. We found that the stories of the victim and her parents
all confirmed the perpetrator's guilt. The victim, who had just begun dealing
with her childhood abuse, welcomed the opportunity to set the record straight. The
- SURVEILLANCE / STALKING A STALKER
client was a very high-profile individual who was being harrassed by a former employee. We located the address and workplace of this individual and surveilled the subject until law enforcement got involved and the subject was arrested, tried and convicted.
- SURVEILLANCE / ORDERED BY THE COURT
Summary: In an unusual case, the Judge in a Worker's Compensation dispute ordered the insurance company to do overt surveillance on the subject, since the subject had complained about being frightened by ominous looking covert surveillance operatives hired by the insurance company. The attorneys for both sides proposed investigative companies to do the surveillance and the Judge selected our company. We complied with the request by the subject that we use female surveillance operatives and provided overt surveillance coverage almost everyday for over four months. Finally, after a successful settlement conference, the Judge allowed the insurance company to stop the surveillance.
- WHITE COLLAR CRIME
Summary: A San Francisco shipping
company was concerned about its steeply escalating operating costs. The
company executives felt they were missing about $2.5 million and worried
that they were the possible victims of an internal fraud, although they
had no suspects. They contacted their attorneys, who retained our firm.
We were able to identify the fraud and the employee who had perpetrated
it, as well as locate the bulk of the stolen money. This is an example of
how our firm can help attorneys whose practice involves special investigations
and white-collar crime and those whose clients include a wide range of business
and commercial entities. The
Environmental Litigation Cases:
Unlike many investigative agencies, we have vast experience in environmental litigation. Below is a sampling of some of the cases we've worked on in the environmental area:
Summary: On an environmental case
involving a large international port and an oil company, Parrent Smith investigators
dug deeply and found information dating back to the early 1900s that helped
our client win a favorable settlement of the case. The
Summary: In U.S. v Casmalia, a case in which the EPA was suing for funds to be used
for the cleanup of a superfund site, our investigation into the financial
condition of some of the parties who were making de minimus offers helped
our client save significant sums by keeping those defendants in the PRP
pool. (See also, Identifying Assets) The
Summary: A very large Semiconductor Company was sued under CERCLA for causing groundwater
pollution in Phoenix, Arizona. Our investigators saved the Semiconductor
Company the financial burden of the full clean-up by locating over 250 additional
PRPs (Potentially Responsible Parties) to share in the clean-up. The
Summary: Our client, Caltrans (California
Department of Transportation), was one of the Potentially Responsible Parties
in the clean-up of a seven acre oil recycling facility in Fresno. Caltrans
objected to the size of their share of the clean up initially proposed by
the other PRP's and the EPA. After our investigation of the actual volume
of oil contributed by Caltrans to the site, Caltans' allocation was reduced
by over 60 percent The
a case involving a San Francisco contaminated site, we were able to help
our client develop a larger PRP list through our well-developed interviewing
techniques. This led to a more appropriate allocation of clean-up costs,
saving our client a considerable amount. The
Summary: Our work, which provided factual information on the practices of each
company on a 13-acre contaminated site in Morgan Hill, allowed our client,
Standard Fusee, to be removed as a discharger for purposes of the clean-up
orders of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. The
Summary: On an environmental case involving a residential neighborhood built on the site of a former oil reservoir and adjacent to an industrial area, Parrent Smith investigators provided our client with an investigative site history that identified numerous additional PRPs and their contributory activities. The full story...
Summary: Our firm was a lead investigative agency in Newman v. Stringfellow, one
of the largest toxic tort trials in the U.S., with over 3,800 plaintiffs.
By the time this landmark case went to trial, we had helped to substantially
reduce the plaintiff pool. The
were the lead investigators in a recent San Gabriel Valley groundwater toxic
tort, with more than 1200 plaintiffs. As in the Stringfellow case, we were
able to provide information that led to the settlement of many of the cases
for greatly reduced dollar amounts. The
firm conducted background investigations on
the plaintiffs in litigations in Fallon Nevada, the site of the U.S. Navy's
"TOP GUN" flight school, as well as a childhood leukemia cancer cluster.
Our investigation brought forth significant credibility issues. The
Summary: Our firm conducted an investigation in Solano County, California, where a housing development was built on a former landfill and several plaintiffs were suing the builder. After our research, including interviews with non-plaintiffs living in homes at the site, Counsel for the defendant housing corporation made a motion for summary judgment for the defendant, that was granted. The full story...
/ PROPOSITION 65
a 2000 Proposition 65 case, our firm's meticulous investigation helped the
plaintiff's prove damages and win their verdict. The
Yourself with the Facts!
J. Smith, CPP
CA Lic # 5617
548 Market Street #88333
San Francisco, CA 94104
10158 Hollow Glen Circle Los Angeles, Ca 90077